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New this week on video

February 08, 2007

Selected home-video releases:

"Flags of Our Fathers"

The first of Clint Eastwood's bookend films about the World War II battle for Iwo Jima received excellent reviews yet failed to find the audience it deserved. With the buildup to the Academy Awards - where the follow-up film, "Letters From Iwo Jima," earned a best-picture nomination and a best-director slot for Eastwood - "Flags" may find a second wind as viewers catch up with his overlooked war epic. Led by an ensemble including Ryan Phillippe, Adam Beach and Jesse Bradford, "Flags" follows the fate of U.S. troops immortalized in the legendary photo of the raising of the American flag on Iwo Jima, the film seamlessly flitting from the battlefield to a home front built more on propaganda than truth. Sadly, the DVD has just the film, lacking any extras. Maybe down the road, the "Letters From Iwo Jima" DVD will offer insight on how Eastwood managed to deliver two sweeping war epics in a single year. DVD, $29.99. (DreamWorks)

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"The Grudge 2"

Sarah Michelle Gellar returns for a small role in this followup to her horror hit, which stars Amber Tamblyn as her sibling, sent to Japan to find out what's up with her hospitalized big sis after the fiery finale of the first flick. The followup tracks Tamblyn and a disparate group of people from Tokyo to Chicago, all inexplicably haunted by the same creepy little spirits from the original movie. The DVD comes in the PG-13-rated theatrical version or in an unrated edition that adds about six minutes of footage. Both DVD editions have deleted scenes and a couple of featurettes, including one on director Takashi Shimuzu, who also created the Japanese franchise on which "The Grudge" movies are based. The unrated DVD also has an introduction from producer Sam Raimi. DVD, $28.95. (Sony)




"Flicka"

This ho-hum horse tale, an update of Mary O'Hara's classic family novel "My Friend Flicka," stars Alison Lohman as a spirited teen who bucks the wishes of her father (Tim McGraw), fighting to stay on the family ranch rather than follow his desire that she get out of Dodge and find something else to do with her life. Her main preoccupation is trying to domesticate a wild mustang that her dad brands too crazy to be tamed. The DVD comes with deleted scenes, a blooper reel, a behind-the-scenes featurette and the music video for the sappy tune country star McGraw sings over the closing credits. DVD, $29.98. (20th Century Fox)




"Hollywoodland"

Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Ben Affleck! After playing a comic-book hero in "Daredevil," Affleck puts in one of his finest performances in a supporting role as George Reeves, the sadly typecast star of TV's "Adventures of Superman," whose violent death in 1959 was called a suicide, though some in Hollywood thought it was murder. Adrien Brody stars as a private detective trying to unravel the case, with Diane Lane playing one of Reeves' lady loves, whose studio-mogul husband was at the heart of the murder speculation. Along with deleted scenes, the DVD has commentary from director Allen Coulter and three featurettes. The film comes in a standard DVD release or a combo disc with the DVD and high-definition HD DVD versions. DVD, $29.98; HD DVD combo disc, $39.98. (Universal)




"Running With Scissors"

Annette Bening leads a terrific cast that includes Gwyneth Paltrow and her "Shakespeare in Love" co-star Joseph Fiennes, Alec Baldwin, Brian Cox, Jill Clayburgh and Evan Rachel Wood in an adaptation of author Augusten Burroughs' chronicle of his youth. Joseph Cross stars as Burroughs, whose delusional mother (Bening) splits with her boozy hubby (Baldwin) and sends the youth to live with a seemingly deranged psychiatrist and his family. The DVD features cast interviews, a segment on set design and a chat with the real Burroughs. DVD, $26.96; Blu-ray disc, $38.96. (Sony)




"The Science of Sleep"

Writer-director Michel Gondry's visually inventive romance examines the strange nether region between sleeping and waking life where a hopeful yet hesitant young artist spends his days and nights. Gael Garcia Bernal stars as a man with new job designing calendars that turns out to be unfulfilling drudge work, whose vivid dream life - where he's the star of his own makeshift TV fantasy - begins to spill over into reality, including his fitful pursuit of the girl next door (Charlotte Gainsbourg). Gondry is joined by cast members on commentary. DVD, $27.95. (Warner Bros.)




TV on DVD:

"Eddie Murphy: Delirious" - A quarter-century ago, he was a raw, fresh, foul-mouthed comedy firebrand. Now he's a veteran Hollywood survivor who has achieved critical acclaim as an Academy Awards front-runner for "Dreamgirls." Murphy's raucous, profane 1983 standup special finally comes to DVD, accompanied by five minutes of unreleased footage and a new interview with the performer. DVD, $19.98. (Entertainment Studios)

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